A letter writer is fed up of staying in his room all day (not to mention his controlling parents).

Can our elder’s suggestions help him to break free and start embracing life?

Dear EWC

Hi, I’m a guy, Mexican American (born and raised in Texas) who’s gonna turn 25 in three months. My problem is that I haven’t experienced much of life. By this I mean I never do anything but stay home all day in my room (at my parents’ house) just scrolling through the internet. I lived this life for a good ten years now. And now I’m feeling worn out; I think I’m at my wits’ end. I never dated, I haven’t had a true friend in over ten years, I haven’t swum in over ten years, I’ve never been to SeaWorld or Six Flags, or out of state. I still don’t have my driver’s license, I’ve never had a job, I’ve never lived on my own, and to top it off I have some health issues that have been making life difficult.

The point is that I missed the boat on a lot of things. The only thing I did do was get my bachelor’s in accounting. But I realized that accounting/business is not a career that I want to pursue. I merely pursued this career because I didn’t know what else to do. I think a lot this I can attribute to middle and high school. I was heavily bullied/pushed around for all those years. I have experienced hundreds of times where I was ridiculed, hit, disrespected, and getting my things stolen. I was sad, angry, depressed, and I had very little confidence or willpower. My parents aren’t exactly the empathetic types; they aren’t very educated either. My parents are both Mexican, and they had their own big problems in life which included a lot of fighting among themselves and with other family members. They aren’t the sort of people I can just go to and tell my problems to, and frankly, they somewhat discourage me from doing so. So I never told them how badly I was being treated (which included some adults) because every time I tried to tell them a little of how I was feeling they brushed it off. Also I kind of hate my parents too, which makes things even more difficult.

After high school, I went to college. I went to three different schools and switched my major three different times. I lived with my parents the entire time (I wanted to live on campus but my parents discourage me from doing that) and they always gave me rides to school. Eventually, I learned to use the bus and I liked traveling on my own, even though my parents discouraged it. My parents didn’t like it when I would come home at 8om, they would get angry at me. Basically, after school, I would come straight home. I never did anything in between except for some rare occasions where I would see a movie. And that was basically my life throughout college. Now that I’m finished with school (finished last December), I stay home all day. Days turn into weeks pretty quick. I was job searching, and I got some job interviews, but without any work experience, and lack of social skills, I haven’t been able to get a job. It’s pretty disheartening. My parents don’t really try to encourage me to do anything, nor do they make it a priority. It took me a while to figure out why they don’t encourage to move out of the house, but now I know it’s because they don’t intend for me to leave. They would like for me to live there for as long as possible; they even put the house under my name, even though I told them several times I don’t want the house. As I said before, I kind of hate my parents. And I hate that house; it’s like my own little prison. So that’s my story. Is it so tragic? I’m not sure what kind of advice to ask for, but what I would like is a second opinion on my life. I don’t really have a destination in life. I would like to have friends and start a family of my own, but it doesn’t look realistic anytime soon. I’m halfway through my twenties; I feel like my time is running out. I’m feeling depressed again; I have very little willpower. I don’t know how much I’ll remain sane if things continue the way they do.

Alexandra replies

I was touched by the title of your letter. Living the way you describe is really no life at all for a young man of 24. I’m so sorry that you were bullied and treated so badly in school, and it’s completely understandable that you were angry, depressed and that it had such an impact on your self-esteem. We hear a lot of sad stories about bullying, and how painful it can be.

It sounds as if these feelings haven’t changed much, but you’re an adult now and certainly old and mature enough to start taking charge of life and turning it around. What a long list you have of things you have not done, and only a passing mention of the fact that you earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting — which is quite an achievement. And by the way, many students change their majors several times — it’s not such a big deal. You also write extremely well, and you have good insight into what is wrong with your life, so you’re obviously an intelligent young man. In which case you must be aware that the only person who can change things is you.

I’m not saying it will be easy, but you have many, many years ahead of you and there”s no reason that they can’t be happy and fulfilling. As long as you maintain your current lifestyle, these parents that you ‘hate’ are controlling you. I do believe that they think they’re doing it out of love, but you deserve a life of your own and you have to start fighting for it and standing up to them. You are still very young and you have certainly not ‘missed the boat’.

If you do not want to do accounting as a career, what do you want to do? What truly interests and excites you? If you still have no idea (and many young people still don’t have a clear direction at your age), talk to a career counselor at one of the schools you attended, or, as you spend so much time scrolling through the internet, take some of the free career aptitude tests online. Go to your library and pick up a copy of the book ‘What Color is your Parachute’ by Richard Bolles — keep searching until you find something that strikes a positive chord with you. You could even look at taking some online courses to increase your employability while you’re stuck In your room on your computer. Also, look up information on increasing your self-confidence — there are a ton of good suggestions online.

In the meantime, please find a job — any job — to get you out of the house, put some money in your pocket, fund driving lessons, and even perhaps further college courses. Knowing how to drive will open up new worlds of possibility for you, and having some money of your own will give you some independence from your parents. Don’t downplay owning the house — you may not want it now, but there may come a time when being a homeowner, whether you decide to live there or not, could be a real asset to you.

People are not going to come to your room to make friends with you-you have to put yourself out there. I don’t know how much your health issues affect you, but there must be ways you can form a social life. Volunteering in your community is a good way to meet people — and gives you something to put on your resume. Get involved with the political party of your choice, or, if you’re so inclined to join a church, take an interesting course, learn how to play a sport, find a new hobby. Most cities in the US have meetup groups — search www.meetup.com and the name of your town or city and I think you’ll find all sorts of interesting social groups that would welcome you as a member.

There’s a big, wide, interesting world waiting for you, but you have to take the first step, and yes, that will take a little bit of effort and courage. I’m sure you can do it. Take baby steps — try one new thing and make one new friend and once you get your confidence, things will snowball from there.

I’m concerned about you falling into a depression. Hopefully, your health issues are solvable and you are getting good medical care, but it wouldn’t hurt to also mention to your doctor that you”re feeling depressed.

Please feel free to write back if you want to talk more. I wish you the very, very best for a brighter future.

Letter #: 404079
Category: Self-Improvement

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